By Brecken Branstrator
Antwerp, Belgium--The World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association announced Thursday they are postponing the 2018 World Diamond Congress.

The WFDB and IDMA had scheduled their biennial gathering for June 19 to 21 in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Israel Diamond Exchange was organizing the event, which was due to have a section on how technology can aid the diamond industry, among other topics.

The associations said the decision came as a result of the “weak response” to registration, which they believe could have been influenced in part by the rising tension in the region.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been escalating of late, with the former announcing Thursday it had bombed military facilities in Syria thought to be linked to Iran in response to what it called an Iranian missile attack on the Golan Heights.

The protests occurring on the Israel-Palestinian border for the past few weeks also are intensifying.

WFDB President Ernie Blom and IDMA President Ronnie VanderLinden said in a joint statement: “It is obviously with very great regret that we have reached the decision to cancel the congress. We had a full agenda of issues regarding the state of the global diamond industry and preparations were in full swing. However, we have to take all factors into account, and felt it was the correct decision to make which is in the best interests of all concerned.”

VanderLinden told National Jeweler the event won’t happen until 2019 at the earliest.

He added that all attendees who signed up for the congress via the official registration page will be fully reimbursed.

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